World War I


Congress created the Officer’s Reserve Corps, Enlisted Reserve Corps and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1916. Once war was declared, the Officer Reserve Corps grew dramatically, providing more than 89,000 officers. Within the Enlisted Reserve Corps, 15,000 Soldiers served in the Medical Department. More than 80,000 Enlisted Reserve Corps or Regular Army Reserve Soldiers served in World War I.


During World War I, the Army mobilized nearly 90,000 Reserve officers, one-third of whom were medical doctors. This quickly quadrupled the Army’s capacity to care for the sick and wounded.Today, 59 percent of the Total Army’s medical capabilities reside in the Army Reserve.

These doctors continue to bring critical civilian medical expertise in areas such as dentistry (endodontics, oral surgery and orthodontics); behavioral sciences (social workers, clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists); laboratory sciences (biochemists, clinical laboratory officers, microbiologists and research psychologists); optometry; pharmacy; preventive medicine sciences(medical science officers, entomologists, audiologists and environmental science/engineering officers).

Top right: The Dental Reserve Corps, part of the Medical Reserve Corps, offered opportunities for African-American dentists. African-Americans have been part of the Army Reserve since World War I. In 1917, history notes, 639"colored" Reserve officers (as the then-segregated Army designated them) were commissioned from the Officers Training Camp at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
Left: Soldiers of the 308th Infantry Regiment, 77thInfantry Division,and 166th Infantry Regiment, 42ndInfantry Division liberate a small town in France
There is no component of more importance to the security establishment than the organized Reserve Corps. The new Reserve Corps can and must become the well-trained citizen Army Reserve required to supplement immediately, in an emergency, our small regular Army and our National Guard.
— General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Army Chief of Staff, July 1946
World War ll
Following the German blitzkrieg of Poland, which triggered World War II, organized reserve forces began war preparations.

Beginning in 1942, the Army activated 26 Organized Reserve infantry divisions and hundreds of other units. From 1943 to 1944, Organized Reserve officers constituted 52 percent of all officers killed in action, 28 percent of those missing in action and 27 percent of those captured by the enemy. All told, approximately one quarter of all Army officers — 200,000 — serving in World War II were from the Organized Reserve.


Nearly 15,000 Army Reserve Soldiers are supporting the combatant commands in missions around the world. These missions include combat support operations in Afghanistan; Civil Affairs missions in the Horn of Africa; deterrence operations missions in Kuwait; military police operations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and medical support operations in Honduras.

Structured to provide operational capabilities and strategic depth to the Army and the Joint Force, the Army Reserve is an essential partner of the Total Force in preventing conflict, shaping the strategic environment, and responding to operational contingencies globally and domestically, to include Theater Security Cooperation, Foreign Humanitarian Support, Homeland Defense, and Defense Support of Civil Authorities missions.

Top Right: Members of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, prepare for D-Day during World War II.

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America's Army Reserve in World War I

WWI graphic